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Bond set at $5M for man charged with fatally shooting wife, stepson in West Peoria

A gavel rests on a judge's bench in a blurry courtroom. The text "WCBU Courts" sits on top of that photo.

Bond is set at $5 million for the man charged in a West Peoria double homicide.

The victims of Thursday's double homicide in West Peoriahave been identified as 32-year-old Quardreka Payne and her 8-year-old son Cael Thornton.

According to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood, autopsies showed Payne and Thornton both suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died instantly.

“This is an unfortunate and devastating tragedy, and heartbreaking for them and their families,” Harwood said in a release posted on his office’s Facebook page.

Payne’s husband, Rickey J. Payne, 34, is facing six counts of first-degree murder, along with other charges. He is Thornton’s stepfather.

Peoria County deputies found the victims in a house in the 100 block of N. Cedar Ave. after responding to a 911 call shortly after 8 a.m. Police say the Paynes’ 1-year-old twins were in the residence at the time of the shootings, but they were not physically harmed.

Prosecutors say that Rickey Payne called police and told them he was locked out of his house and was concerned about a broken window in the back. After trying to make contact with someone inside the home, police forced their way inside for a welfare check and found the victims. 

Prosecutors say that while searching outside, officers found a silver pistol near a tree stump. They say neighbors reported seeing Rickey Payne sitting on the stump earlier in the day.

Officers said they received Facebook messages from Quardreka Payne's brother, in which said she was afraid of her husband and feared for her safety.

The prosecution says Rickey Payne admitted during questioning by police that he got the silver pistol from a relative in Springfield. Prosecutors also say he admitted to arguing with his wife over late night text messages.

Prosecutors say Rickey Payne claimed his wife pulled out and later put away a second firearm during a subsequent struggle.

They say he also admitted to shooting Thornton shortly after shooting his wife, because the boy was preventing him from cleaning the scene.

Judge Albert Purham Jr. cited the prior arrests in Mississippi and Iowa as his reasons for setting the high bond amount. He also said RIckey Payne represented a "serious threat" and had "limited ties" to the community.

"I've never had to set a bond that high before," said Purham.

Rickey Payne is scheduled to appear in court next on Oct. 27 at 9:30 a.m.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.
Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.